Tower Bridge seen from River

London Forum Updates

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Discussion paper on review of the Green Belt

Posted on: 10 December 2014 at 14:11:40
A paper was produced for a London Society event to consider if the Green Belt should be examined for revision.
It was published by Jonathan Manns and is on this web site here.
In his blog, Andrew Lainton gives the background on this subject and his comments here.

The Right to Custom Build

Posted on: 10 December 2014 at 13:49:30
A consultation here on Right to Build closes on 18th December 2014.
It requires Councils to make plots of land available to those wishing to build their own home. The implications are explained in a blog by Chris Brown available here. He is critical of some aspects of the scheme and points out that the Government has included a proposal to remove affordable housing obligations from S.106.

'Euston Cross' proposal for HS2 publicised again

Posted on: 24 November 2014 at 18:26:54
Andrew Lainton in his blog has drawn attention here to the proposal by members of the House of Lords for an alternative station for HS2 in Central London avoiding the problems of direct routing of HS2 into Euston station.
See also other recent news posts on key issues in his blog.

Clarification: permissions & licences for Tidal Thames

Posted on: 23 November 2014 at 17:24:26
An explanation of the organisations that could be involved in granting permission for developments on the Tidal Thames has been added to this web site here.  Thanks to Peter Makower of the West London River Group for the details.

Profiles on heritage resources in local authorities

Posted on: 21 November 2014 at 14:47:53
English Heritage has published details on this subject for London boroughs here on:-

  • Whether there is a Heritage Champion.

  • Whether there is a Historic Environment Record (and is it online).

  • Whether there is a list of locally important heritage assets.

  • Number of designated heritage assets.

  • Number of designated heritage assets classed as 'at risk'.

  • Number of planning applications, listed building consents and parks and garden consents.

  • Data on Heritage Lottery Fund grants made within the local authority area.

The information in each profile can be used to enable local groups to engage with services in support of local heritage. For example through aiding engagement with local Heritage Champions, or supporting community action on developing or updating the local list of buildings of heritage importance.

Housing Minister: Councils can use NPPF not Local Plan

Posted on: 20 November 2014 at 16:59:06
The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, has announced that planning authorities do not need to update their Local Plans because decisions on planning applications can be made on the basis of the policies in the NPPF.   See the details and comments here.
This latest madness by DCLG means that London’s boroughs would not need to update their Local Plans to conform to the NPPF and the latest version of the London Plan. Communities want boroughs to devise policies and Development Plan Documents which define what should be developed and where and for what purpose, to spatially address the NPPF, London Plan and Opportunity Area Planning Framework policies for local development to be sustainable. Without that happening, it would be difficult to prevent harmful changes.
Some London boroughs have not achieved an approved plan in the last ten years, since they were instructed then by Government to do so before September 2007. Will some local authorities in the country now give up planning and rely on national policy and guidance, which has little to do with places?
Decisions on planning applications made just on the basis of the NPPF content may give some developers the opportunity to build what they like for maximum profit, rather than deliver what local authorities need.
Brandon Lewis does not seem to have mentioned the London Plan which should form the basis of the core strategy for every borough and is part of the development plan for decision making, together with the Local Plan and the NPPF.
The Government’s statement that if a Local Plan is out of date, the default answer to a planning application is ‘Yes’ has not been withdrawn. This leaves confusion about development control.
The earlier interference by Government in local decision making by relaxation of planning controls has been serious, as described in the links within the 'Adverse effects of permitted development of offices' item on the next page. There are other papers on that subject here and here and here and here.
It is important that community groups keep up the pressure on their MP and any Members of the House of Lords and Ministers that they know, for Government to stop dictating how development decisions will be made locally. Recent changes and proposals by Government mean that the Localism Act was largely meaningless.

Greg Barker to chair Sustainable Development Commission

Posted on: 16 November 2014 at 19:49:36
Boris Johnson has announced here that he has appointed Greg Barker, MP, as new Chairman of his London Sustainable Development Commission, and tasked him with helping the capital meet the environmental challenges posed by a population that is set to increase by 37 per cent to more than 11 million people by 2050.
London Forum expects that there should now be more focus on sustainable urban drainage, on addressing traffic congestion and air pollution and ensuring the required infrastructure is delivered. It is expected also that the Mayor's Infrastructure Delivery Board will take input from civic and amenity societies.

Housebuilding initiative on National Grid land

Posted on: 16 November 2014 at 19:41:02
A new partnership that is expected to create 14,000 new homes across London and the South East has been welcomed by Boris Johnson. National Grid and Berkeley Group have established a joint venture to develop major residential and mixed-use development schemes. Known as St William Homes LLP, the initiative brings together access to a significant portfolio of brownfield land owned by National Grid Property in key areas of housing need.
See more details here.

Can London build enough homes for 9m people? and Where?

Posted on: 5 November 2014 at 23:25:08
An article @CityAM points to a report by residential and commercial estate agent Stirling Ackroyd with a map of wards which are likely to have high, medium or low house building. The Outer London boroughs may need to increase densification to respond to the demand.

Will devolution to London happen?

Posted on: 5 November 2014 at 22:53:41
London Mayor Boris Johnson has admitted he has struggled to convince the Government that control of taxes like stamp duty should be devolved to City Hall as recently to Manchester - see  and as discussed at .

BBC London political editor Tim Donovan spoke to Mr Johnson, Minister for Cities, Greg Clark, and Mark Boleat, Corporation of London.
It seems that London is being asked to demonstrate what it would do with retained taxes and what return to the Treasury there would be before more devolution is likely.

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